Pankhurst fire was accidental, police say

Posted On 26 Sep 2019 at 9:20 am

Pankhurst aftermath by @OBDroning on Twitter

A blaze which destroyed a block of Brighton flats on Friday night was not suspicious, police have confirmed.

An investigation into exactly how it started – and spread – is still ongoing, but police say they have ruled out foul play.

Scores of residents of the block at the top of Pankhurst Avenue are still homeless and it’s unlikely they’ll ever be able to return to retrieve belongings.

The block, which contained 12 flats, will probably be demolished. All the residents were either tenants of Guinness Partnership housing association or home owners.

Meanwhile, residents of neighbouring blocks have also been evacuated and it’s still unclear when they will be able to return.

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “The Guinness Partnership will talk directly with residents from the homes in the surrounding area about returning to their properties, but are still waiting to hear exactly when this might be possible.

“There will be a meeting for residents to come together and talk with the Guinness Partnership, East Sussex Fire and Rescue and the council as soon as possible.

“We want to be able to give residents key information so the details of this are being planned for now. Details of the meeting will be widely publicised ASAP.

“The Guinness Partnership with the support of the council are talking with the Edge Community Centre management team to be able to use the centre as a Rest Centre for the rest of the week. This will be confirmed ASAP

“The Guinness Partnership and the council again send huge thanks to the local community for their care and support to friends and neighbours. We want to support the local volunteers with specific asks for clothing and household items.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “It has been confirmed that there are no suspicious circumstances in this fire and there is no further police involvement.”

The council, housing association and fire service met yesterday morning to debrief and discuss next moves.

There had been rumours that fire engines had run out of water, but the meeting was told although there had been minor problems with water pressure because the flats are at the top of a hill, Southern Water had been able to increase the pressure.

There were also no issues with identifying and using the hydrants.

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